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Resignation Speak of Wolfgang Hinderer

by Mr. Wolfgang HINDERER:

After having held the office for nine years, Mr. Wolfgang Hinderer resigned as President of IUCAB at the 55th IUCAB Annual Delegates Meeting held in Berlin on 23rd May 2008 after having earlier announced that he would not be available for a further term of office. Mr. Hinderer was bestowed the title of IUCAB Honorary President following the proposal thereto of his elected successor Mr. Kriton Phitidis of Cyprus in grateful acknowledgement of his nine years of excellent IUCAB Leadership. At the Annual Meeting, Mr. Hinderer presented his farewell speech to the Delegates of the National IUCAB Member Associations of which an excerpt follows hereunder.



Dear friends,

the beginning of my term of office coincided with the dawn of a new century and a new millennium. There was a great deal of discussion and grave concern that the economic world, which had largely become one run by computers, would collapse. This didn’t happen.

Following this success, information and communication technology has further increased its influence on economic events and made internationalisation easier in many sectors. In this respect, the distribution of goods and services has witnessed radical changes, with agents (agencies) and manufacturers’ representatives following the same course. Of course, partnership companies are still restricted to national business and play an important role in distribution.

The tasks for agencies and MRs (manufacturers’ representatives) have broadened considerably as part of internationalisation. In addition to sales, new services such as warehousing, financing, product consultancy and marketing have emerged, leading to changes in the membership structure of the IUCAB’s national associations.

This was revealed, above all, by the work of the Vision Group under the leadership of Jan Björnum. A higher percentage of agents have taken over invoicing for manufacturers, for example, resulting in new missions for the IUCAB, in particular as part of the Legal Working Group.

The Legal Working Group is the IUCAB’s most important working group, as it acts in an advisory capacity on international legal cases. It has also collected and reviewed the Legal Fact Sheets, revised the vade mecum and drawn up sample agreements, over the last few years. We are very fortunate that the US association MANA has regularly been involved in this work.

Allow me to say a few words on the work of the IUCAB in Brussels with the European Commission:

Between 1999 and 2001, the block exemption regulation and Guidelines on Vertical Restraints were adopted, legally permitting exclusive agreements in agents’ contracts.

Between 2002 and 2006, the Service Directive was drawn up and enacted by the European Commission. By issuing written comments and being involved in discussion forums, the IUCAB ensured that note was taken of agents’ suggestions.

In 2002, work began on research into economically dependent/quasi-subordinate employment with its related legal, social and economic aspects. This was actually a question of whether agents with only one client could continue to be seen as independent contractors. Here too, the IUCAB played an intensive part in discussions. The European Commission initially shelved the matter.

In 2004, preparation of the Common Frame of Reference with a revision of the Acquis communitaire began. The aim is to establish European contract law with guidelines for agents. There is an advisory team of 180 experts, including representatives of the IUCAB. In this respect, I should like to thank Mrs. Berchem, who has successfully been representing the IUCAB in Brussels in cooperation with Jaap van Till.

Other subjects include the international address database, initiated by Walter Krammer, for agency communication and continuous training. Numerous national associations have organised effective training programmes. I hoped to create a central system with the involvement of the University of Phoenix resulting in the awarding of a CPMR certificate. George Hayward is fully committed to this idea and I hope that this concept will still be implemented.

The USA’s membership is of major and particular significance for the IUCAB.

For the same reason, we are also open to new members from other parts of the world, for which the exchange of experience with US and European colleagues would be very useful.

Dear friends,

a great deal has been done over the past few years by the IUCAB – a great deal that not everyone is aware of. Nevertheless, a brief summary shows that an international association like the IUCAB is very important and necessary in representing the interests of agents around the world.

Your trust has made it possible for me to remain the President of the IUCAB for so long and I should like to thank you all for this.

At the end of my speech, I should like to call on all those present here to continue working whole-heartedly within this shared community. Collective efforts to find successful solutions for businesses also require an association to be filled with enthusiasm and to identify with recognised goals. In all our organisation’s actions, the greatest imperative must be our outward commitment to the whole community. I have tried to act in accordance with this principle and to diplomatically combine various interests. Whether I have succeeded remains to be seen.

We should all – and I really mean all – be proud of what we have achieved. I should like to thank those people who have supported me throughout my term of office, and above all the Secretary General, Jaap van Till – our working relationship has developed into a friendship – as well as my colleagues on the Executive Committee Simonetta Maffizoli, George Hayward, Walter Krammer, Jan Björnum, Paul Wakeling and the Executive Committee’s Assistants Kriton Phitidis, Olivier Mazoyer, Joseph Rifa and, last but not least, a thoroughly individual professional advisor, my friend Andreas Paffhausen. I should like to wish the new President, his new team and the IUCAB all the best for the future.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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